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Freeporter named contractor of the year


Local contractor, Ben Jackson won his eighth National Association of the Remodeling Industry, NARI, Contractor of the Year, CotY, award. NARI is an organization comprised of high-quality remodeling professionals that annually judges 45 CotY categories in construction and remodeling work from contractors throughout the United States.

For the last consecutive six years, Jackson and his construction company, Ben’s General Contracting, has won CotYs ranging from platinum commercial interior to silver residential exterior. This year’s CotY was a silver Commercial Exterior for Jackson’s work on the front of the Woodward Children’s Center on Merrick Road.

The CotY, according to Regina Biondo, executive director of the NYC/LI chapter of NARI, is an opportunity to showcase the region’s best top talent in remodeling.

“They’re, the judges, are not just choosing one,” Cindy Foley, Program manager, for NARI, “they’re looking at every aspect of the project and how they met the client needs.”

The contest is judged anonymously through teams of judges from around the country and certified construction professionals certified remodelers and universal designed certified professional. Foley also emphasized the importance of creating well-respected reputations in the construction industry and said the CotYs represented the best of the best.

Winning the CotYs has been an honorable distinction; Jackson said to be recognized by his colleagues has also been reassuring of his company’s level of work and professionalism. However, in light of all of the contractor fraud since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Jackson candidly shared his concerned towards Long Islanders who are still struggling to get home and hesitate to trust a contractor for the rebuilding or elevation of their homes.

Through NARI, he has hopes that residents can meet reliable contractors and change the negative connotations towards contractors.

“We just want to get everyone home,” he said. “I don’t think those guys started off to intentionally rip people off. I think they mismanaged their businesses and just got in over their heads.”

Jackson graduated from Freeport High School in 1978 and has owned and operated his construction business for the last 40 years. He said he’s proud of his Freeport roots and is actively involved in a number of organizations, namely, the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, the village of Freeport Zoning Board and Landmarks Commission.

“Ben is a very committed and professional remodeler who cares passionately about the industry and supports it,” Biondo said.

Jackson is a member of the New York City/Long Island chapter of NARI and serves as NARI’s Chairman of the Government Affairs Committee. Through his volunteer position, he actively participates in legislative activities for the betterment of the Association. As chairman he tracks local and New York state legislative issues that impact the remodeling industry or small business interests, inform members of current trends or changes that may impact their businesses and they regularly stay in touch with the agencies that tie to the industry, according to Biondo.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for my work,” Jackson said. “and for someone to appreciate the quality of what we did. [Sometimes] it’s not just the work, but what you go through; it’s a lot of hurdles to go through — there is a story behind every project.”